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Mr. Do! (Atari 2600) artwork

Mr. Do! (Atari 2600) review

"Mr. Do has to harvest cherries from his overgrown orchard. However, some Badguys (this is what the manual calls them) are out to not only horribly murder Do, but also eat his cherries. . Were they really that strapped for time? They couldn't have given the enemies a deeper collective name than that?"

To say that you liked or disliked a game at least says something definite. Many people liked Pac-Man, while possibly just as many disliked the ET video game. Both games will be remembered, and even the awful games can take their place in history. Does anyone out there remember the mediocre games they've played? Probably not. Mostly, the mediocre ones presented nothing special. There was nothing particularly odd, nor likable, nor despicable about them. They just existed. Most folks will not remember the Atari 2600 version of Mr. Do! The game is technically playable and relatively painless, but it offers nothing special. It's hampered mostly by the unoriginal gameplay and difficulty that can be best described as “random.”

Mr. Do has to harvest cherries from his overgrown orchard. However, some Badguys (this is what the manual calls them) are out to not only horribly murder Do, but also eat his cherries. . Were they really that strapped for time? They couldn't have given the enemies a deeper collective name than that?

Mr. Do combines gameplay from Dig Dug and Pac-Man. The game screen is a basic plane allowing you to move in all four directions (a la Zelda). The object of each level is to collect all of the cherries. Badguys roam around the screen at no more than two at a time. If a Badguy touches you, you lose a life. There is little to protect you from the Badguys except the grass, represented by thin horizontal lines. When you push through grass, it becomes mowed and is no longer there, much like digging dirt in Dig Dug. There are also apples all over the screen that act like boulders. Mow the grass below the apple and it plummets to the bottom, taking you or any Badguys it happens to hit with it. This spells death for either.

Your only course of offense is your Power Ball, a less than reliable weapon. When you throw it by hitting the fire button, it immediately takes off diagonally away from you. This can cause you to miss enemies if there isn't any grass directly in the Power Ball's flight path. The ball bounces off walls and grass like a pinball and doesn't stop until it hits a Badguy. Honestly, it's next to worthless. Unless you're trapped in a tight tunnel, you won't hit the enemy most of the time. Other than that you could score a hit if the enemy is right behind you, except that enemy movement speeds change. The instant you turn around to nail the enemy could be the instant you give them the advantage needed to speed up and kill you.

Most Badguys can't move through uncut grass. If you mow a path to the cherries, you're also creating a path for the Badguys. However, the basic Badguys can morph into hungry ones that can not only mow through the grass, but eat you and your cherries. These guys are the real pains of the game. They can move swiftly and keep on your trail. Most of your casualties in this game will come from them. They add a slight amount of challenge that would be welcome, however the difficulty is still “random.”

Killing Badguys doesn't eliminate them for very long. They respawn almost immediately, and worse than that is your Power Ball's respawn time. Yeah, your own weapon has to respawn. The more you use it in a level, the longer it takes to respawn. If two Badguys happen to be chasing you, the best you can do is take one out. The other will most likely catch you. It pretty well illustrates the radical end of the game's challenge factor. It's flat out unfair at times, even on the lower difficulties.

However, the enemy AI has some erratic tendencies. There's little you can do to escape a Badguy once it's got its sights set on you, especially since they can speed up and catch you even if you run away. Your only hope is that the AI will mysteriously cause the enemy to take a different route. This is more common than you might think. Even on higher difficulties, the enemies will sometimes cease to chase you or move inconsistently.

What this does is set the difficulty to random. Sometimes, you'll be on a roll because the enemies will leave you alone and you'll fly through levels. Others, you'll be dead in the water by level two because the enemies will come right after you. Even at times when you're being chased, the enemies may just give up. It makes the game fell less planned and more slapped together.

The gameplay itself is repetitive and tiring. Every level revolves around collecting the cherries all over the screen, and there's little incentive to do much else. Engaging Badguys is bad for your health unless they have a letter on them. You may notice the word “EXTRA” at the top of the screen. Enemies will appear with corresponding letters. Kill that enemy and that letter will be highlighted. Spell EXTRA and win an extra life. But honestly, it's not worth it. You'll practically lose all of your lives just trying to fill that out. It's such a rough and demanding task all for just one life.

The game is still technically sound. There are no fatal flaws to the mechanics, but the game is still not very interesting. It can hold your interest for a few short minutes, but only that. Mr. Do is no replacement for Pac-Man or Dig Dug. It's hardly a replacement for its arcade counterpart. There isn't much fun about the game. Its repetitive gameplay and erratic enemies make the game rather dull, and the game offers nothing special. It's not a particularly awful game, but it's not exactly fun either. It's right in the dead center of the road. If you play this game tonight, you'll probably forget about it in a month or so. You're much better off playing the games this one takes its inspiration from. Mr. Do quite simply doesn't.

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (October 30, 2010)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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qxz posted November 17, 2010:

There is something I would like to ask about this review: Is your less-than-impressed opinion of Mr. Do! based solely on the Atari 2600 version, or are you just unimpressed with the game, regardless of the format?

I could probably understand why you're less than impressed with the Atari 2600 version; based on the screenshots, it appears to have been heavily stripped down from the original. I have a copy of the SNES version of Mr. Do! -- which is a far more accurate port than the 2600 version -- and I actually believe that, in some aspects, Mr. Do! is superior to Dig Dug.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted November 17, 2010:

Mainly the 2600 version, though I haven't played any other version. I'm still open to playing the others (like the SNES version). I also got the impression that this was a heavily stripped down version. I was okay with the interface, but more than anything it was the inconsistent challenge factor.

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